For those unfamiliar, GitHub is the most popular software repository, and it is used by a large portion of the XDA community for code management. We’ve added the ability for XDA users to add a link to their GitHub page in their profile. Just go to Edit Details in UserCP and add your GitHub username in the field towards the bottom of the page. Then, when someone clicks your name while in the forums, they can check out your work by hitting the link in the drop down. We’re likely to support other repositories in the future.
It is truly great to see that the United States has a rather active Government that worries about its people. Its people have opportunities to speak their mind and make requests to all the branches of this bureaucratic machine, and they are bound to get a response in one shape or another. This seems to be the case for the “little petition that could,” in which over 114,000 people expressed and shared their concerns with the US Government regarding network unlocking of devices legally purchased. This petition received official replies from the White House and the Librarian of Congress, and gained nationwide interest, thus making what many thought would be a silly “nerd rage-filled rant” into a topic of national importance. However, as with most systems, this one is not one without its faults and pitfalls, thus making it quite imperfect.
For the sake of illustration, just imagine that you had a 3 year old silver Civic that was dying and that you wanted a bright red Ferrari. Someone told you that if you worked hard enough and made a certain amount of money within a 2 month period, there would be a chance for you to get your hands on the wonderful beast. Two months later, you had completed your target, got all the money you needed, some people winked at you when you asked if you would get it (raising your hopes in the process). Then, that someone puts a blindfold on you and takes you outside. You proceed to take the blindfold off and upon opening your eyes, you see your 3 year old silver Honda Civic, but with a fixed engine.
Are you happy to have a car? Sure, but to say that you are disappointed would be the understatement of the year. You are simply baffled and trying to pull yourself together in dismay as to what kind of person would lift your hopes high up in such a manner. This was the case for the bill that everyone in the mobile scene was waiting for. Earlier yesterday, US Senator Patrick Leahy (Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee) along with several other Senators from both parties announced the drafting of a new bill that they were hoping to pass in the hopes of addressing the issues raised against the Librarian of Congress’ new incarnation of the DMCA. More specifically, the bill, known as the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, was aimed to target the cell phone unlocking debacle as well as the consideration for tablets. At first sight, the law addresses the main concern presented to Congress, but when you sit down and analyze it a bit further, its that fixed up 3 year old Civic.
There are several concerns regarding the wording on the write up like the fact that it will still be up to the carriers to grant you an unlock code while you are on contract. On the flip side, at the very core, the law would reinstate the 2010 exemption that made it legal for people to pursue other “venues” to get their devices unlocked. It still grants a lot of power to the carriers, but at least it does not grant them complete control, which the removal of said exemption was achieving. The problem (the elephant in the room if you will) is the fact that the law fails to address the main, biggest point of this entire ordeal: why is this in the DMCA in the first place? Why are we depending on the (lack of) knowledge of someone who is not an elected official to determine the future of our rights as consumers with products that we legally own? In other words, why is this harbored/lumped with a law SPECIFICALLY made to tackle piracy? Unlocking cell phones has 0, zip, null, nada to do with piracy and/or intellectual property rights. Yet the decision on this will be based solely on the following:
9 upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights,
10 who shall consult with the Assistant Secretary for Commu-
11 nications and Information of the Department of Com-
12 merce and report and comment on his or her views in mak-
13 ing such recommendation, shall determine, consistent with
14 the requirements set forth under section 1201(a)(1) of
15 title 17, United States Code, whether to extend the exemp-
16 tion for the class of works described in section
17 201.40(b)(3) of title 37, Code of Federal Regulations, as
18 amended by subsection (a), to include any other category
19 of wireless devices in addition to wireless telephone
So, the Library of Congress needs to hear from, at least, two departments before anything can be done. Again, this is someone making actual law without being part of the overall process and certainly not someone who is chosen, but rather who applied for a job vacancy. Congress had a wonderful opportunity to separate the wheat from the hay and decided to simply apply a fix. Why a fix you ask? The DMCA exemptions and provisions are revised every 3 years. If this long standing provision was taken out without much thought or consideration, who is to say that we will not be here once again 3 years from now? CTIA will certainly still be there much like the little red guy standing on your left shoulder telling you to set your building on fire. They went through great lengths and found a twisted enough argument to sound pseudo-plausible, and 3 years is an eternity in terms of mobile development. So, chances are that we will find ourselves here fighting once again. However, lets assume that we fix it yet again 3 years from now. We will be back in 2019, this time around from within the Matrix and trying to avoid Sentinels.
There are enough experts on the scene to give the people who need the explanation, the best possible and most logical, level-headed argument they will ever get to hear. And best of all, it comes from the people with the people’s interest in mind. I made a small point in my previous article about the Library of Congress’s statement about the general public being consulted prior to amending DMCA. Maybe they should follow their own processes and ask ACTUAL PEOPLE as opposed to corporation conglomerates when the time comes to make law.
It looks like we have gotten quite good at making noise, so maybe we should make one final stance before this band-aid comes to pass. Please share any and all articles with colleagues, media outlets, your Congressmen and Senators, all the people who need to see this in order to make the voices heard. We did our share of work, we expressed our views and told them why things should be different. Please, lets try to push forward so we can finally get rid of that Civic and go for the Ferrari.
You can find the entire proposed law in the following link and the official announcement made by the Senator of Vermont by following this link. Additional links with interesting articles can be found in PublicKnowledge and TechDirt,
Thanks for reading.
[Thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog for the tip!]
Around the middle of last year, we realized that in order to best moderate the forums of newer devices, we had to close the forums for a handful of old, legacy devices. We now have a few more forums to add to that list. Just as before, while these forums will be closed for posting, they will still be completely accessible for your read-only viewing pleasure.
Like last time, our criteria for closing forums was post activity. More information on the specific criteria used can be found in our previous announcement. Hopefully by closing these legacy forums, we will allow the site’s moderation teams to focus on XDA’s more active forums, instead of having to worry about cleaning spam in old forums to which very few still contribute.
February 21st was a rather interesting day for those of us in the mobile scene. What seemed like an ordinary day for many, was the day that marked the beginning of a real fight to regain our freedom to unlock SIM cards. That day 100,000 signatures were reached in the petition started over at We the People website. The latest installment in the saga, after almost 2 weeks of silence, was that earlier today, the White House issued a statement, as promised, regarding the petition. Now, before we get to the nitty gritty, we will have to make one point crystal clear: Nothing has happened yet other than the House having made a statement and taken a stance on the entire issue surrounding the DMCA. So, if and when you read on media outlets that SIM locking is once again legal, please, read into the most recent developments first.
Having gotten the disclaimer out of the way, let us get onto the good stuff. As stated above, the White House has issued a statement in response to the petition, which at the time of this article, has over 114,000 signatures, about 14% over the minimum requirement. The condensed version of the response essentially states that the administration and technology experts, including the FCC agree with our stance, and that the unlocking model currently in place does nothing to hurt the market or to put intellectual property in jeopardy, the latter of which was the biggest argument used by the CTIA to convince the Librarian of Congress. Keep in mind that DMCA was conceived to stop piracy and IP theft, and locking GSM devices to carriers does neither of the aforementioned. Luckily for us, there are people out there with a dash of common sense who can see past the bogus statements by the carrier/manufacturer conglomerate.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has sent a somewhat lengthy letter explaining everything that should be modified in the new implementation of the DMCA. Lots of information to go through in the linked 36 page (PDF) letter to the Librarian of Congress. This goes through several (if not all) key points of the Act and how various parts need to be modified for either lack of scope or overall non-sensical dribble. An added bonus of this letter (on top of the already great push for the purpose of our petition) is the fact that the NTIA and the FCC have provided the Librarian with a great definition of what a Tablet actually is. If you recall back sometime last year right after the original draft of the updated DMCA came to light, there was an interesting point made about tablets and how exemptions to tablets should not apply as they constitute a different kind of device. Our good friend XDA Developer TV Producer azrienoch essentially explained how this was a bunch of non-sense. The new provisions would effectively lump tablets and smartphones in the same group since the dividing line between them is almost invisible at this point. A tablet can effectively do anything a cell phone can, so this new arrangement could certainly put a few things back where they should be.
Shortly after the White House made the official announcement, the Librarian made a statement in response to it. The response essentially does absolutely nothing to address any of the points being brought forth by the NTIA. However, it does go on to state that before an exemption is either added or removed, a lot of factors are taken into consideration and said amendments are done as per stated procedures. Well, quite honestly following a procedure does not mean that something cannot go wrong.
The question of locked cell phones was raised by participants in the Section 1201 rulemaking conducted between September 2011 and October 2012 by the Register of Copyrights, who in turn advises the Librarian of Congress. The rulemaking is a process spelled out by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in which members of the public can request exemptions from the law to enable circumvention of technological protection measures. In the case of cell phones, the request was to allow circumvention of technological protection measures controlling access to copyrighted software on cell phones.
I would LOVE to know if said members of the public actually include any public as in people from the public sector (and not multi-billion dollar companies). Based on the fact that 114,000 have signed this petition, the answer is either no or they asked people who had no idea what they were answering. Granted, we are a, somewhat vocal, minority and as such, our opinions on certain matters can indeed be overlooked. However, more often than not, since we can normally see past a few things that people take for granted, we are right about these things. As such, listening to what we have to say is what people know as “sound reasoning”. We know what we are talking about, we don’t sugar coat things, and we certainly do not need lobbyists telling you what you need to hear.
Look, we know that rule making can be hard when you have screaming businessmen (lobbyists) jumping in circles around you. We know that because clowns are quite distracting after all. However, if you are making rules to protect, you need to focus on who or what you are protecting. You are protecting IP from pirates and we applaud you for that. However, you do NOT need to cripple people’s entire existence and put them in the hands of people who, for the most part, are not IP owners at all (carriers, in case you are curious). The letter from the NTIA actually had a nice section (with foot notes) explaining how most companies will charge a fee or force you to a certain length of service before your device can be unlocked. If that is not enough to convince you that maybe, just maybe, this is not worth it… especially since carriers do NOT own the devices or the software in them (thus, no IP to protect), then I strongly suggest that you turn in your resignation and let someone a tad more competent look at this.
To the White House and the Obama administration, thank you very much for caring about us and most of all, for having the capability to recognize idiocy when you see it.
Thanks for reading.
You can find the entire response in the We the People website.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
February 27, 2013 By: egzthunder1
XDA-Developers was, is, and always will be a community for developers to come and share their knowledge with others. The keyword in my statement is community, and as such, we must not forget that the people who we communicate with on a day to day basis via this wonderful medium known as the Internet (and our forum) are human beings as well. Because of this, we are all subject to see real life events cropping up from time to time. As a community, our duty is to support each other so that the community can survive and evolve. Today, we bring some unusual news regarding the case of one of our members, XDA Recognized Developer ChiefzReloaded aka Ryan Scott.
The CyanogenMod team has made a public Google+ post explaining the entire situation, which is quite grim. It seems that for the past few months, Ryan has been going through some rather disturbing events. He has been diagnosed with a disease known as Necrotizing Fasciitis, which for all practical purposes, is a skin and flesh eating disease. This is a rather rare and quite lethal condition. Ryan has been in and out of the hospital for at least the last 3 months undergoing heavy treatment to try and stop progression of this disease. However, since the United States does not offer a free, public healthcare system (and please, this is NOT a political debate, so keep the opinions on this matter to yourselves), the hospital and general medical bills are quickly setting him and his family into financial distress. They are already in VERY deep debt, and the current situation points to it not getting better any time soon, unfortunately.
Several hundreds of people have started different projects, donation drives, and all sorts of different activities to try and raise money to help him in this very difficult situation. We do not usually ask the community to donate their hard-earned money. However, this situation does call for as much help as humanly possible. Ryan is a husband and father of two and the amount of financial, mental, and physical strain that this must be putting on him and his entire family is something I would not wish to my worst enemy.
So, how can you help? At this point in time, every little bit helps. Anything you can do to alleviate the burden will be highly appreciated. Cyanogen’s Google+ post has the following information regarding the possible venues to help out:
+Polo Heysquierdo has started an Indiegogo page for Ryan athttp://www.indiegogo.com/projects/scott-family-fund. This page has some more details on Ryan’s condition and a method for you to help the effort.
Additionally, a huge community favorite and someone who the CyanogenMod team loves, +Deth Becomes You has started an auction with proceeds aimed at helping out Ryan.https://plus.google.com/u/0/107290707477228775864/posts/BYfaDHZeJKt
Additionally, and the most direct way to help, would be to donate to Ryan’s Paypal account (email@example.com) directly. Again, this is not something that we normally would write or talk about in the Portal, but this is a life or death type of situation and we figured that one way to help was to try and push Cyanogen’s announcement forward. If you have ever felt the need to help your fellow dev, now is a fantastic chance to get started.
Please spread the word as much as you humanly can. Any and all help will likely be highly appreciated by Ryan’s family. Those of us behind the scenes at XDA, we wish him and his family all the best, and wanted to assure him that we will help support them in any way we can.
Thank you for reading.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
Today is Valentine’s Day! To all those celebrating, we at XDA would like to extend wishes for a day stuffed sappy heart-shaped objects, loved ones, and much mobile development.
Many of our more hardware-focused community members have heard of the Solid-Run CuBox computer. CuBox is a small, fan-less computer measuring in at approximately 2 × 2 × 2 inches. It comes with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed, but the device also supports Debian and Android, among others. It is a low-power ARM-based computer that can stream and decode 1080p content, use desktop-class interfaces such as KDE or GNOME under Linux, and do all of this in under 3 watts, with less than 1 watt standby consumption. Those interested can learn more on the CuBox product page.
In order to help promote development for the device, Solid-Run is looking to give away 3 CuBox units to Recognized Developers who come up with interesting and unique development ideas for the device.
Simple. First, visit the contest thread! Next, tell us what you intend on doing with the device if you are one of the lucky winners. Share with us your development ideas, provide ample details, and remember to keep things feasible. Winners will be determined by myself and XDA Elite Recognized Adam Outler.
Now for the technicalities: This contest will run from today, February 14, until next Thursday, February 21. Due to previous difficulties we’ve encountered when mailing internationally, this contest will be open to US residents (or those with proxy US shipping addresses) only. Please only submit one entry per Recognized Developer. Those with multiple entries will be immediately disqualified.
Thank you for your contest entries and for being a part of the development community! Good luck!
February 12, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
XDA Developer TV is looking to add more talented people like you to the lineup. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, do not hesitate. All it takes is basic video skills, which we can help you learn, a camera capable of at least 720p resolution, and a love and knowledge of mobile devices—both Android and Windows Phone.
What do you get? You get the enjoyment of spreading the knowledge you’ve learned on XDA to thousands of people. You will get to join the ranks of other XDA Developer TV stars like Jordan, azrienoch, Adam, and others. So what are you waiting for? Contact Jimmy McGee with any questions. If you are camera shy, but still want to join our team, contact Portal Administrator Will Verduzco to learn how to join our group of talented writers.
XDA has gone through a large number of change over the years. We’ve added new features, changed our policies, and have made updates to the way you interact with the site. We’ve put together what we call the XDA Changelog, where you can see all of the changes we’ve made in the past, as well as keep updated with new things we do in the future. It’s not 100% complete, but it covers the most important changes. We’ll be updating the Changelog on a monthly basis, so be sure to check back and see what’s new! View the Changelog.
Before the holidays, we shared exciting news about XDA working with CruzerLite to put together some XDA merchandise. We’ve just received some fantastic news: The XDA cases for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and Google Nexus 4 are ready to start shipping out! You can see how great they look below.
The shirts have already been shipping, and we welcome your thoughts on how you like them, along with your comments about the cases when those who ordered them start receiving them. If you haven’t already ordered a case or a shirt, make sure you visit the XDA page on CruzerLite.
January 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Depending on which part of the world you reside, 2012 is now but a memory. While there have been various ups and downs, one thing is certain: Despite the lack of a Mayan Apocalypse, it was quite the eventful year.
What’s even more important than the road already traveled in the world of mobile technology is what is yet to come in 2013. While the progress of our favorite mobile operating systems and their development communities are still very much to be determined, one thing is already known: There are many exciting times ahead.
Please share in the comments section what you are looking forward to most this coming year!
And as we mentioned previously, we would like to hear about your favorite content this past year so that we are better able to tailor what we bring you this coming year. So if you’d like to leave your two cents, please drop by my thread or send me a PM with your suggestions!
Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2013! And what better way to kick it off than with a glimpse back at our Best of 2012 videos!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
December 19, 2012 By: admin
We are closing the RD applications to wrap up everything up before the new year starts. As of this moment you won’t be able to apply, but we will reopen somewhere in early January.
As you might recall, we’ve made tremendous improvements to the Recognized Developer program a few months ago to increase our efficiency in processing applications. If you have any ideas or perhaps complaints (hope not!) you are welcome to PM the Developer Committee account.
If you haven’t received a response by the end of the year (especially if you have been waiting for more than a month), please PM the Developer Committee account. The program was designed by one of the DC members, but suffered from a bug in earlier stages where members didn’t receive the final outcome of the review. Those problems are all fixed now, but we have no easy way of knowing who we haven’t PMed.
Tonight we’ll be making some server upgrades that will cause the XDA forums to be down from 11pm-1am Eastern. You’ll still be able to use the Portal during the downtime.
Sorry for the inconvenience!
December 7, 2012 By: jerdog
With XDA membership coming up on 5 million users worldwide, we wanted to give you the opportunity to show your support for this vibrant, ever-changing community. After the BigAndroidBBQ it was obvious who we needed to work with to provide XDA members with shirts, cases, and other merchandise to help you show your love for the site. We contacted the great people over at Cruzerlite, who have done a wonderful job getting this going. Beginning today we are offering t-shirts (long- and short-sleeved as well as female-specific) and some great cases for some pretty popular devices: the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S III (including carrier variants), Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (including carrier variants), and the Google Nexus 4.
We want to make sure that costs are kept as low as possible for all of the community, so XDA is making nothing off of the sale of the merchandise. This means that you can get some absolutely high-quality cases for your phone for only $10, and long- and short-sleeved shirts for $12 and $10. The cases are currently open for pre-order, with shipping scheduled to begin in the next 4-6 weeks. You can visit store.xda-developers.com and purchase a shirt or get your case pre-order started, and keep tabs on the other things we have cooking up with the CruzerLite team that are soon to follow.